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Dave's Comicbook Capsules Et CeteraIntermittent Picks and Pans of Comics and Related Media Standard Disclaimers: Please set appropriate followups. Recommendation does not factor in price. Not all books will have arrived in your area this week. An archive can be found on my homepage, http://www.eyrie.org/~dvandom/Rants Started the mortgage pre-approval process this month, whee.... Items of Note (strongly recommended or otherwise worthy): None. In this installment: Batman: Bad Blood (DVD), Monsters, The Totally Awesome Hulk #3, Ms. Marvel v2 #4, Invader Zim #7, Gold Digger #229, Astro City #32, Toil and Trouble #6 (of 6), My Little Pony Friends Forever #25, My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #39, Transformers More than Meets the Eye #49, The Transformers #50. Current Wait List (books either Diamond didn't ship or my store failed to order): Toil and Trouble #5, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur #3 AND #4 "Other Media" Capsules: Things that are comics-related but not necessarily comics (i.e. comics-based movies like Iron Man or Hulk), or that aren't going to be available via comic shops (like comic pack-ins with DVDs) will go in this section when I have any to mention. They may not be as timely as comic reviews, especially if I decide to review novels that take me a week or two (or ten) to get around to. Batman: Bad Blood: DC/WB - So, this compresses more than a year's worth of comics stories into a movie, and it feels like it. A big-bad from the first half gets written out almost dismissively in the middle, because it was the boundary between arcs. But I didn't actually read the comics, so I can't say if the abruptness was the fault of the source material. All told, it felt like two episodes of a continuing TV show in what I think of as the "Damienverse". Worth the time to watch, but not something to get really enthused about. Mildly recommended. $15-20. Digital Content: Unless I find a really compelling reason to do so, I won't be turning this into a webcomic review column. Rather, stuff in this section will be full books available for reading online or for download, usually for pay. I will often be reading these things on my iPhone if it's at all possible. Nothing this month. Trades: Trade paperbacks, collections, graphic novels, pocket manga, whatever. If it's bigger than a "floppy" it goes here. Monsters: Couscous Collective - Another anthology from Couscous, and as usual dominated by Garrity and Farago. This time the theme is monsters, and most of the stories did deal with literal monsters, but one piece was metaphorical (and heavy-handed). The highlight is "The Monster At The End Of This Comic," in which the Skin Horse cast do an homage to Sesame Street's "The Monster At The End Of This Book." Of course, while Grover was scared of the monster itself, Sweetheart is scared of the paperwork involved in dealing with a monster. :) Recommended. $7.00 Floppies: No, I don't have any particular disdain for the monthlies, but they *are* floppy, yes? Totally Awesome Hulk #3: Marvel - About the only difference between this issue and #2 is that Amadeus tries to be a little more mature about things. Otherwise, more fighting of monsters (and Fin Fang Foom is treated as a mindless beast for some reason), more "hot new antagonist is untrustworthy," more of Amadeus's sister facepalming. Even the advancing of the "what happened to Banner?" flashbacks adds almost nothing new other than showing Amadeus having gotten involved. Nice, but padded. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Ms. Marvel v2 #4: Marvel - Looks like high school level 3-D printers in the Marvel Universe use unstable molecules and plotdevicium in their raw materials. This is a transitional issue, with Kamala's juggling of responsibilities coming to a head so that the magic 3-D printer plot device can be used irresponsibly and cause sitcom hijinks. Not terribly keen on this issue, but willing to give Wilson time to develop the plot into something better. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Invader Zim #7: Oni Press - The lead story is yet another use of the "super rapid evolution biome that worships the protagonist" plot seen in Simpsons and Futurama and Fantastic Four and so forth. Decent execution of the tropes, but nothing special. The backup is a cute gag that gets about as many pages as it needs, although it reinforces the idea that Oni is treating this as a zero-continuity cheap gag property. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Gold Digger #229: Antarctic Press - So, I guess Fred Perry likes Clash of Clans. At least the pastiche is integral to the plot and not just a digression for the sake of making a bunch of nut punch jokes. Mildly recommended. $3.99 Astro City #32: DC/Vertigo - New arc, with the return of Steeljack. Busiek chooses to open at what looks like the ending, although probably just the end of the second to last issue of the arc. Really playing up the "Steeljack is Robert Mitchum made of metal" thing by dropping him into a noir detective story involving a former lover/teammate, a frame-job, and plenty of opportunities for backstabbing. Recommended. $3.99 Toil and Trouble #6 (of 6): Boom/Archaia - Still no #5, but I read a CBR of that issue while I wait to be able to buy it. After the knock down drag out fight of #5, the sisters are shocked out of their individual ruts (one is always too bloody, one always too merciful, one always putting off or handing off hard decisions) and work together to try to undo some of their mistakes and give MacBeth a chance to succeed or fail on his own terms...which, of course, we know the ending of. All in all, a good retelling of the Scottish Play from the POV of the Weird Sisters. Recommended. $3.99 My Little Pony Friends Forever #25: IDW - Barbara Kesel turns in a story that I really doubt would fly on the actual show, given that it involves (admittedly bloodless) amputation and theft of body parts. It's definitely one of those "Why, other than being a kiddie show, does no one ever try to do X" stories, though. In this case, "Why doesn't a unicorn try to steal some wings to become an alicorn?" Of course, it also begs the question, "Why would you try to steal the wings of one of the highest-profile pegasi in Equestria?" That one is never really addressed (although it could have easily been hoof-waved as the spell only working on truly awesome wings). Some decent humor mixed in with the body horror, though. Mildly recommended. $3.99 My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #39: IDW - The lost school ponies story wraps up, everyone spends a fair amount of time with disgruntled expressions, and no one really learns anything because there's no one whose development isn't spoken for. Meh. Very mildly recommended. $3.99 Transformers More than Meets the Eye #49: IDW - Well, for once the end of issue cliffhanger isn't dismissed as "not what it looked like" (a really bad habit Roberts has on this book), although that doesn't mean this issue lacks plot whiplash elements. Some of this feels like Roberts decided to hurry up and get some plot elements dealt with before the Big Issue Fifty, rather than letting them develop at their own pace, though. Mildly recommended. $3.99 The Transformers #50: IDW - Speaking of Big Issue Fifty, this double-sized perfect-bound issue kicks off the All Hail Optimus arc. Unfortunately, by the end of the issue, it's pretty clear that it was a bait and switch. It feels like a cheat to set up "Optimus takes over Earth for its own good" as the big development, then have the issue end with Optimus in no position to take over Peoria for its own good, much less all of Earth. Mildly recommended. $7.99 Dave Van Domelen, "Unfortunately, those of us who were born to be MINING EQUIPMENT don't get to do oppressing." "The OPPOSITE, in fact!" "Thanks for making the subtext TEXT." "The what what, WHAT?" - Rumble and Frenzy, The Transformers #50 (or maybe Frenzy and Rumble)